There is not a single cause of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). As such, a single pill does not cure it or stop it. In addition, what might work well in treating inflammation is not effective in treating plaque or tangles.
Current projections have twice the number of people today under treatment for AD in the next thirty years. A sensible diet, stress and weight management, and moderate exercise can probably cut significantly into that estimate. However, lifestyle changes are hard to maintain.
Newer hospitals can scan for plaque – something not available just a few years ago. Health care is getting better at diagnosis, but treatment is still far behind. However, there are everyday things we can do to enhance our body’s defense against this disease.
Life Extension Magazine
https://www.lifeextension.com/magazine/2013/3/nutritional-strategies-to-combat-alzheimers. I use Life Extension magazine as a source of my health and wellness articles. This link has 211 footnotes giving the sources of information. I consider it one of the best sources for improving health.
Doctors know the progression of AD but are not fully aware of what causes the disease. We know inflammation, oxidative stress, and other factors contribute to the genesis of AD. Chronic, low-level cellular inflammation is the genesis of nearly every disease. The brain is no different.
Why not treat each of the steps of disease development before it gets a foothold in the body. The nutrients mentioned below have been thoroughly researched through epidemiological (the study of disease), laboratory, and human studies. However, not every nutrient has undergone extensive human clinical trials, and the development of AD treatment is continuing to evolve.
Acetyl-L-Carnitine has been shown in human studies to decrease the levels of amyloid-beta and tau proteins (tangles).
Ginseng is a traditional Chinese memory enhancer and has shown in human studies that it reduces amyloid-beta plaque formation and neuron death. Animal studies with ginseng demonstrated reversal of memory and behavioral abnormalities associated with AD.
Huperzine comes from the Chinese club moss Huperzia serrata. It binds chemically with an enzyme that attacks acetylcholine. As a result, it preserves nerve cell communication capability. In addition, this nutrient blocks the NMDA (N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor) channels that hyper-incite brain cells and slows the progression of AD. Huperzine protects brain mitochondria.
Lipoic acid is required for mitochondrial energy production. In human studies, it chemically binds to toxic metal ions that induce oxidative stress while also increasing the brain’s production of acetylcholine. Moreover, in animal studies, lipoic acid slowed cognitive degeneration, dysfunction, and memory loss.
N-Acetylcysteine (NAC) is a precursor amino acid to glutathione, considered to be the master antioxidant in the body. Thus, NAC provides extreme protection against oxidative stress, especially with reactive oxygen species (ROS).
Low levels of omega-3 fatty acid (fish oil) have been associated with AD. Omega-3 fatty acids (DHA specifically) reduce inflammation and improve neuronal connectivity. Results of human studies with omega-3 fatty acids show improvement in the early stages.
Vitamin D is also a nutrient found in low levels in patients with AD, especially those before early-onset AD and who have mild cognitive impairment. As a neurohormone, vitamin D regulates calcium channels, nerve growth, and nitric acid synthesis. In addition, vitamin D is an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory and, with curcumin (especially curcumin containing piperine), stimulates the brain’s ability to reduce amyloid-beta buildup.
Ginkgo Biloba has been used as a prescription drug in Europe for well over a decade to treat degenerative dementia. It is thought to attack the precursor to amyloid-beta and reduce the accumulation of plaques. One human study showed that it stopped the progression of AD by two years.
Ashwagandha is an Ayurvedic plant with super antioxidant properties. Extracts used in laboratory testing demonstrated that they stopped the progression of amyloid-beta plaque aggregation from killing neurons. In addition, it has been shown to inhibit acetylcholinesterase, the enzyme that destroys acetylcholine in the brain.
B-vitamins, especially folate (B9), pyridoxine (B6), and cobalamin (B12), are reprocessed continuously to create DNA. Vitamin B12 deficiency mimics AD, which is why doctors typically give a B12 shot to patients with early-onset AD to see if vitamin B12 deficiency is causing the memory issues.
Low levels of these B vitamins cause homocysteine to increase, which causes both heart and brain issues. In addition, both laboratory and animal studies prove that B vitamins slow the buildup of amyloid-beta and tau proteins tangles.
Blueberries are rich in polyphenols (antioxidants) that affect gene expression. In the brain, the polyphenols protect neurons from amyloid-beta protein development and expansion.
Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) and pyrroloquinoline quinone (PQQ) protect mitochondria. The reduction of amyloid-beta plaque formation has been thwarted in laboratory studies using CoQ10. After plaque formation, PQQ activates cell recovery by reducing oxidative stress.
There are many more nutrients that improve the odds of not getting AD or reducing its progression. I am saving those for a rainy day, maybe even tomorrow since it has been raining nearly every day for over a month.
An editor’s note about alpha-lipoic acid stated that this molecule is produced with two forms – an ‘R’ and ‘S’ form. The ‘R’ form is both biologically active and available. Therefore, when you use R-lipoic acid, it is best to start with a lower dose than you would with alpha-lipoic acid.
Many of these nutrients can be used with existing prescription drugs. Talk to your doctor about combining them. Use the link above as a source to bring to your physician.
Most of us live day to day, and at some point, we realize that we should have taken better care of ourselves. The educational material provided in my articles is intended to give awareness to topics for people to ask their doctors when considering any change to their current health regimen.
Live Longer & Enjoy Life! – Red O’Laughlin – RedOLaughlin.com